Wednesday May 29, 2013

By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday May 29, 2013

Metrolinx report recommends Transit Revenue Tools

Hamilton’s proposed light rail transit line would be 100 per cent funded by new taxes and fees proposed by regional transit authority Metrolinx.

With that promise comes a stipulation: there is no opportunity to “opt out” of the GTHA’s Big Move transit vision or the funding tools designed to pay for it.

That message came loud and clear at a board meeting Monday during which the Metrolinx board unanimously approved a new transit funding strategy for the next 20 years.

It’s now in Premier Kathleen Wynne’s hands to win support at Queen’s Park for the plan to pay for $34 billion in transit projects. It could be a tough battle, given the Liberals’ minority status and the fact it’s estimated the average Ontario household will have to pay $477 more per year in fees and taxes.

But Wynne has been clear that she feels transit in the GTHA is facing a crisis and that she’s willing to stake her political future on fixing it.

“To the 30 municipalities and the province of Ontario impacted by this plan, I call on them to accept the challenge and embrace our recommendations,” said Metrolinx chair Rob Prichard. “It will take a great deal of courage on their parts.”

The average commute in the GTHA is 82 minutes a day round trip, among the longest in North America.

Without action, it will grow to 109 minutes in 25 years, according to Metrolinx. Implementing the Big Move brings it back down to 77 minutes. (Source: Metro News) http://metronews.ca/news/kitchener/687272/hamiltons-lrt-wish-edges-closer-to-reality/